The Ripple Effect

We had an excellent crowd at The Ripple Effect two-day conference in Bethlehem which was designed to help practitioners understand the complexity and find solutions to the problem of family harm. Below is the list of knowledgeable speakers who are expert in this field, many of whom have lived experience. It was a great opportunity to learn from experts, discuss new ideas of operation and meet new colleagues.
The conference was segmented to deal with this problem from two perspectives:
Day 1 – Journeys of Healing
Day 2 – Voices of Victims

Speaker line-up

Ete Mele - The Ripple EffectEteuati Ete and Mele Wendt

Etuate Ete is a New Zealand-based actor and comedian best known as one half of the Samoan duo Laughing Samoans. Ete and Mele have been married for almost 30 years, the first 4 years were violent. Ete now talks mostly about overcoming the violence that nearly wrecked his family and why it’s important for him to tell that story, and help others come to terms with their own violence and deal with their trauma.




Matatuhua 300x300 - The Ripple EffectTe Matatūhua -Stories of Transformation from tāne in Tauranga Moana

Te Matatūhua is a project working with tāne in Tauranga Moana to develop an approach that supports men and their whanau to live well and within a violence free environment. The central focus of the project is to better understand the conditions and environments that support men using or (at risk of using) violence to be/stay violence free. The project has worked with a group of tāne using wānanga, storying telling, journey maps and moko in a safe, culturally specific and mana enhancing way to identify what helps them live well without violence and contribute positively to their whanau and community.

The Te Matatūhua (community discovery project) has worked with a special group of tāne, research expertise from The Centre for Health/ Manawaora, commitment from Tauranga Living Without Violence, the Tauranga City Council, workers in the community with family violence prevention expertise, and funding from the Ministry of Social Development “Campaign for Action on Family Violence” to take an innovative approach in supporting tane towards a future free from violence.

Download the presentation here



He Waka Tapu

He Waka Tapu is a social services provider based in Ōtautahi, who deliver Stopping Violence, AOD and community-based supports. A tāne & wāhine will be presenting and will share their experiences in this work. 0800 Hey Bro- Developed in 2018 to accommodate men predominately with their anger, frustration, and daily stress. This is available for vulnerable men to open and talk with a supportive operator. The crisis line grew into accommodating whole whānau nationwide. Ripple effect tools- The impacts our behaviours have on others.


aorangi - The Ripple EffectTe Aorangi Harrington

Te Aorangi Harrington whakapapa’s to all the tribes of Te Tairawhiti as well as Ngati Hine in the far north. He is a husband of 20 years and a proud father of four teenage children. Te Aorangi resides with his whanau in Tūranganui-a-Kiwa – Gisborne.

He is employed by Te Whare Tū Whānau – Gisborne Womens Refuge as a Mens Healing and Forgiveness Coach. He previously worked at an NGO for three years as a Facilitator of a Men’s Non-Violence Programme.

Te Aorangi is an ordained Apotoro Rehita – Church Minister in the Ratana Church. He holds the position of Justice of the Peace and is also one of a team of Chaplains for the NZ Police and Fire Service in Gisborne.

In his role as a spiritual mentor for over fifteen years he has counselled many men that have suffered from anger issues, relationship disconnection, deep hurt, grief and loss.

The Waira Ora programme he designed and delivers is called Wairua Ora a Healing and Forgiveness Programme which is all about helping improve Mens wairua health and wellbeing to help Men become the best fathers and partners they can be.

Download Te Aorangai’s presentation here.


Jemma 300x228 - The Ripple EffectJemma Bennett

Jemma is a proud wahine Māori, māmā to 5, counsellor and survivor of family violence. Losing her beloved dad from a heart attack at age 10 followed by her beautiful mum from terminal brain cancer a few short years later Jemma’s world changed forever resulting in homelessness, couch surfing, daily thoughts of suicide and the victim of sexual assault. Aged just 15 and only 8 months after being orphaned, Jemma met her abuser and unwittingly entered a cycle of psychological, emotional and physical abuse that lasted over 20 years. With 5 miscarriages interspersed with birthing 4 sons and 1 daughter, as her boys got older and bigger the focus of abuse turned to them, becoming more physical and increasing police call outs. Jemma’s story is real, raw and provides insight and context into the ripple effect of harm that occurs with family violence and the flawed systems that struggle to provide support for victims.



The Backbone Collective and Hohou Te Rongo Kahukura

Make it about us: Victim-survivors’ recommendations for building a safer police response to intimate partner, family and sexual violence in Aotearoa New Zealand:

The Backbone Collective, working in conjunction with Hohou Te Rongo Kahukura , released an anonymous online survey in September 2022 to gather feedback from victim-survivors about how the NZ Police respond to intimate partner, family and sexual violence and how that response can be improved. Survey responses were received from 599 victim-survivors throughout Aotearoa who shared powerful accounts of their experiences with NZ Police and practical ideas for improving the police response to make it safer, more effective and better suited to the needs of victim-survivors, including children.

Deborah Mackenzie, Co-Founder of The Backbone Collective and Sandra Dickson, of Hohou Te Rongo Kahukura will share findings from the police survey and highlight the particular needs of women, Takatāpui, trans and non-binary victim-survivors.



denise wilson 300x281 - The Ripple EffectMāori Women Keeping Safe in Unsafe Relationship – Denise Wilson

Advocating for the improvement of health and social outcomes for whānau Māori, especially those affected by violence and mahi tūkino. Professor Wilson undertakes research in areas focusing on Māori/Indigenous whānau affected by violence and mahi tūkino. She led E Tū Wāhine, E Tū Whānau – Māori women keeping safe in unsafe relationships is a Marsden funded research project that contributes new understandings about, and challenges, the common perceptions and negative stereotypes of wāhine Māori (Māori women) as being simultaneously ‘victims’ and ‘perpetrators’ of ‘domestic violence.’ Instead, we found wāhine Māori actively navigate, react to and resist violence in unsafe relationships to keep safe and protect their tamariki. They used isolation, compliance, and silence as several strategies to keep themselves and their tamariki safe. Key findings from the study and the implications for those working with wāhine in preventing and healing from violence will be shared.

Download the presentation here



donny riki 225x300 - The Ripple Effect“Please, mind your language; the intersections between violence and language” – Donny Riki

Donny (Tuakiritetangata) Riki has Ngāpuhi and Ngāti Paoa whakapapa and works as a clinical psychotherapist and consultant in Horowhenua. She centers mātauranga Māori and uses mana-informed response-based practice in her violence recovery mahi, specializing in inter-generational healing mahi for her people. She is an assessor, supervisor and trainer for the NZAP, NZAC, ACC, the Royal Commission Inquiry of Abuse in State Care and Restorative Justice.

How we language violence matters. In the health profession, language is often used in a way that conceals violence, obscures perpetrators’ responsibility, conceals victims’ resistance, and blames or pathologizes victims. Trauma discourses entrap victims further by recasting appropriate responses to violence, ie: resistance, as deficits or symptoms of mental illness; but we can change that. This critical analysis discusses the language of effects and impacts vs the language of responses and resistance, inviting a different conversation by nouning less and verbing more.

Download the presentation  here